Questions for the Presidential Debates

We’re just a couple of days away from the first Presidential Debate. They’ve become a regular feature of the campaign. They’re not just good theater, and a flub in one can ruin a candidate – but they provide the only direct comparison between the main candidates. In the rest of the campaign, they don’t face each other. It’s all speeches and ads.

True, they are formal and stage-managed. But consider them to be the “job interview” portion of the task of applying for the job of President. Just like a job interview, you get to see the candidates in person, in a format where they aren’t the ones in control of the situation.

As always, I have questions I’d love to ask the candidates if I ever had the chance.

First, some questions for both of them:
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In Sickness and in Health

This past weekend, while the press was once again ignoring all the many scandals surrounding and – to put it mildly – all the “misstatements” from Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton decided that being at a 9/11 memorial ceremony was worth toughing out a mild case of pneumonia.

She wasn’t able to do so and had to be helped off the scene, leading to yet another round of questions about her health and “fitness” for the Office of President.

In all the hubbub, shouldn’t one be asking why we care about a candidate’s health in the first place?
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Thoughts on the Democratic Convention

Well, the DNC wrapped up their party. As with the RNC’s version, I didn’t follow it closely. But I still have some observations….

I’m not sure that people were expecting Sen. Al Franken to go with comedy in his speech. There was little laughter from the audience. Perhaps it was just that his delivery seemed to be off. Must be out of practice. There was a lot of humor in other speeches. Have to love Michael Jordan’s – er, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s jab at Trump.

Nice touch having speakers from all the groups – minorities, immigrants, disabled – that Trump has insulted all during the campaign.

Okay – Bernie Sanders and his supporters. I’ve got no problems with Sanders. He ran a good campaign, and can be proud that he had such an influence on Clinton and the Democrat’s platform. But his supporters need to face reality. They got practically everything they wanted, except for their guy as the nominee. I heard only one commentator mention that the DNC isn’t a “democracy”. As a private organization, they can set the rules however they want, and arrange things to favor one candidate over another. There’s nothing anyone can do about it.

One other point that deserves mentioning. Clinton has been a Democrat for decades. Sanders joined the party a mere three months before the New Hampshire primary. Sounds to me like he joined up at the last possible minute, just so he could take advantage of the party machinery in his try for the White House.

Corey Booker’s speech was all over the place, but what a barn-burner! The passion was obvious.

True, Clinton isn’t that great a public speaker. She doesn’t have much in the way of charisma. But would you rather have someone all style and no substance, or no style but a lot of substance?

Not only did the Democrats have better celebrities, they had better balloons, too….

On the Matter of Clinton’s E-Mails

One would have thought they’d be happy.

When FBI Director James B. Comey announced the results of his bureau’s investigation into the security lapses in Hillary Clinton’s e-mails during her tenure as Secretary of State, he pretty much gave them everything they wanted. Were she and the State Department careless in their handling of sensitive information? Were e-mails deleted? Did they know they were using an unsecured system? Was information that was classified at the time sent over that system? Yes, , yes, yes, and yes. Serious matters, all. And all things that anyone opposing Clinton in a campaign should hold her feet to the fire for.

But because he did not recommend that charges be brought against her, the GOP – well, at least some of their mouthpieces – is having a hissy fit and demanding that the investigation be investigated.
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Berned

Well, it’s all over but the “anointings”. The GOP has thrown in the towel, and acknowledged Donald Trump as their presumptive candidate. No matter how much they are having to hold their noses, there’s no chance they’ll come up with a Plan B before the convention.

Over on the Democratic side, Clinton has earned enough delegates to clinch their nomination – though Sanders and some of his supporters are vowing to continue the fight all the way to the convention. It’s kind of cute how dedicated they are, but Clinton not only leads in overall delegates, she leads in pledged delegates, states won, and the popular vote. There’s no basis whatsoever for the “Bernie Bros” to challenge her. If the delegate count was much closer, or if the margin in the popular vote was a few thousand instead of a few million, they might have a chance at making the convention interesting for the first time in decades. But now, they are basically having a hissy fit.

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On Hillary Clinton

Now that we’re in the heart of primary season, and everyone is gathering in my home state for primaries next week, it’s a good time to take a bit of a closer look at the four main candidates.

I’ll do them in alphabetical order, just because I want to.

I was thinking about being fair and even-handed here, but then I realized that this is my personal, private space, and I don’t need to. So let me come right out and state that I consider myself a pragmatic left-of-center Democrat, so I favor Clinton, with Sanders as a close second.
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